I am writing to update you about our plans for the London school during the Summer 2020 term.
Firstly, I hope this finds you safe and well. I'm painfully aware that, for a minority of our community, music is - right now - not at the forefront of our minds.
If that's you, please know that we're thinking of you, and we'll be here for you whenever you're ready to begin playing again.
For the rest of us, we need to prepare and be ready for when things get back to some kind of 'new normal', because in the coming months, people will need the solace, joy and excitement of music more than ever ...
... and getting ready for that is what Summer 2020 at ViolinSchool will be all about!
As with so many small organisations around the world in recent weeks, the months of March and April have not been kind to ViolinSchool.
But we're here for the long term. We've had to adapt rapidly to the changing situation, and I've taken the necessary decisions that will not only see us through the coming months, but continue to grow and thrive long after the current situation is over.
That said, we do need a couple more weeks to rebalance and catch up, so the start of our Summer Term is now delayed, and will start two weeks later than planned, in the week beginning 4th May.
We are now gradually working through our backlog and hope to be back to full speed by the end of April. We are immensely grateful for your support and patience.
If you are already enrolled --
If you are not yet enrolled --
We understand that your finances might be in an unusual place right now. We are also facing significantly increased costs, albeit offset against venue reductions. It is a very challenging time for many of us.
In order to help with tuition costs, we have been able to make the following adjustments:
We have always strongly believed that lack of financial resource should not be a barrier to learning music. If you need help with fees, please ask.
Although our resources are limited, we will always subsidise committed learners where we have capacity do so.
All of us at ViolinSchool are, as ever, completely focused on how to to provide you with the very best learning experience.
But a new reality requires a new approach, so instead of adapting our existing London program, we have reinvented it completely.
We will continue to monitor goverment advice, and still hope to re-introduce 'hybrid' online/offline classes in Pimlico during the second half of term, if it becomes safe to do so.
But we can't rely on this definitely happening. Therefore, Summer Term courses will be delivered through a mix of tuition formats:
Although this approach is new for many in our London community, we have been trialling it successfully for several years with our international learners, and I can highly recommend it.
In fact, I have been hoping for several years to bring hybrid digital- and offline- learning to all of our London community!
Why? Because, quite simply, I strongly believe that a blend of online and offline learning leads to the best results.
For this reason, I actually see this time as a very exciting opportunity to develop a new standard of learning for the violin.
1. Online Course Modules
For courses A to C, class materials will be available to you on ViolinSchool.com (for D and E / Ensembles, we will be sending music to you by email instead).
You will be able to download music and exercises, and look at basic instructions in advance of each class.
2. Live Zoom Classes
In each live session, we will go through the materials from the most recent module(s). We'll work through each exercise and activity in real time, and there'll be time to answer any questions that you may have.
3. Optional Short Followup Sessions (Skype or Zoom)
Should you need more help or support than is available in the group class, I and/or Marisol will be available for short 20-minute 121 followup sessions. We will be able to give personalised feedback or work in depth on a topic as needed.
Coaching times will be released weekly, but will usually include Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, and some weekday daytimes.
A couple of followup sessions and/or video exchanges will be included for each course participant. If you feel the need for more, further 121 coaching will available at a reduced rate.
4. Video Exchange
These are exactly the same as coaching sessions, but not in real time. If short coaching sessions are not possible for you due to scheduling, then you can simply upload a video performance for assessment and feedback.
(all times London/BST)
Thursdays (beginning 7th May):
6.30pm to 8pm - Adult Course A
8pm to 9.30pm - Adult Course B
Saturdays (beginning 9th May):
10.30am onwards - Parent & Child Courses
12.30pm to 2pm - Adult Course C
2.15pm to 3.45pm - Adult Course D/E
[May only] 4pm to 4.45pm - Ensembles
[June only] 4pm to 6pm Violin Orchestra Preparation
Preparation Week 1: Saturday 25th April
Preparation Week 2: Saturday 2nd May
Week 1: Thurs 7th & Sat 9th May
Week 2: Thurs 14th & Sat 16th May
Week 3: Thurs 21st & Sat 23rd May
Week 4: Thurs 28th & Sat 30th May
Week 5: Thurs 4th & Sat 6th June
(exceptionally, there will be no half term break)
Week 6: Thurs 11th & Sat 13th June
Week 7: Thurs 18th & Sat 20th June
Week 8: Thurs 25th & Sat 27th June
Revision Week: Saturday 4th July
Summer Concert: Saturday 11th July
Rehearsals & Online Participation
Though our London school is incredibly important to us, it's actually not the main part of what we do. 'ViolinSchool' pre-dates ViolinSchool London; we originally launched in 2012 as an online school for the violin, but the idea was too ahead of its time.
No longer! As we move ahead into September 2020 and beyond, you can expect ViolinSchool to leverage the power of digital technology more than ever before. We're going back to our digital roots! Everything we do will be available digitally, not just physically.
I promise you this can be done in a really good way. Physical experiences such as concerts and printed books become even more important when digital resources are ubiquitous.
Digital formats don't replace physical formats. But each plays its role in enhancing learning, music-making, performing and listening experiences. More digital options don't detract from what's precious and unique about shared in-person events. If anything, the opposite is true.
In the next few days, you'll see our newest books and courses being released. Over the coming months, many more will follow. Our daily online lessons, weekly emails, and regular YouTube videos will restart next week.
So, please keep an eye on this blog, and look out for our emails 🙂
Thank you again for your support and commitment to learning during this remarkable time. Together we will get through it, and emerge stronger.
On behalf of everyone here, Happy Spring, and ... whether on-screen, or in person ... see you soon 🙂